Amy Leigh Cutler is one of the featured poets in Raining Words: A Spring Poetry Extravaganza on Saturday, April 12 @ The Pomegranate Gallery, the first in a series of events produced by 3Po3try NYC.
Interview by Thomas Fucaloro
What one word describes your writing style? Curious
What’s your idea of the the perfect poem?It’s the one you find crumpled up in a cafe that you ducked into because of a sudden downpour, and it is on the seat you are about to sit on, and it is scrawled in black ink and it makes you smile and laugh at first, and then you sink down into your chair and you’re crying and soaked from the rain but you don’t care because somebody wrote this perfect poem, and it was on your chair at the right time and that is really something.
What’s your best writing moment? Sometimes my best is when I’m inspired and scribbling as fast as I can with my eyes closed to keep up with a poem that has started to show itself to me, and sometimes I’m trudging through distractions and boredom, chewing on my pen, and it is difficult to set anything down at all, but I do. I set something down when I don’t want to, and sometimes that is the best feeling.
What’s your worst writing moment? It’s always bad when I’m not writing, especially when someone asks how the writing is going.
If you could steal the opening lines from any poem, what would they be? “God has a brown voice/ as soft and full as beer. ” -Anne Sexton, For Eleanor Boylan Talking with God
What time of the day do you mostly write? Mornings are best for me, but I write throughout the day as well. Whenever I have a minute I’ll try and jot something down, or fill up the margins of my notes.
What do you do to get into your writing sessions? Sometimes it is as easy as sitting down. Sometimes I give myself timed writing exercises, free-writes, close readings of poems and excerpts from novels, newspapers, and then use those readings as prompts for writing exercises. I also experiment with form poetry and revision techniques as a way to trick my brain into problem solving rather than having to feel inspired.
What’s the weirdest place you ever wrote? Definitely in the driver seat of a black SUV pulled up to the back entrance of the White House. I got this gig with the Secret Service as a driver in a motorcade for the President of Burundi and his advisors, and me and six Secret Service agents were waiting for them to come out of a meeting at the White House. I thought, What better time to pull out my journal?
What’s the weirdest thing you ever wrote on? Probably a pair of jeans in highschool. I wrote the entire Song of Solomon on those things, and I am still shocked at how perfectly it filled up both legs and ended at the bottom!
What book changed your writing forever? "Proofs and Theories: Essays on Poetry" by Louise Gluck
What poet, dead or alive, would you like to be friends with? Wislawa Szymborska.
Do you have any writing superstitions? If so, what are they and how do you deal with them? Oh, yes, I suppose I do. I am afraid if I don’t have a pen and paper with me at all times I will miss something great. So I try to never go anywhere without something to write with and on.
Amy Leigh Cutler was born in Staten Island, raised near the Catskills, and lives and writes in New York City. She is the author of Orange Juice and Rooftops and a few chapbooks. Some of her recent work can be found on inearnestmag.com where she served as artist in residence in 2013. Look for her in Jonathan Weiskopf's For Some Time Now and Wooster Collective's Graphite, and The Understanding Between Foxes and Lightanthology from great weather for MEDIA. Amy tours, facilitates workshops, and is a teaching assistant and MFA candidate in Creative Writing at The New School.